Teaching, and Learning

Lead Academy

As part of the deal of moving back to Greenville and working for Mill Community Ministries, I knew that I needed to find a part-time job. I proposed this to the leaders over me, for two reasons:

  • To supplement my income with MCM,
  • To help me connect with the community, outside of my “regular” work.

In our time in Allendale, I followed this same model. Despite our primary source of income coming from financial support from friends and family, I always had part-time jobs (up to four at once!) in the community.

During our transition back to Greenville, I was excited for the opportunity to search for job opportunities.

But that excitement lasted about two weeks.


In a city the size of Greenville, I thought it would easier to find some extra work. And I’m an impatient worrywart. Put those two things together, and you can see how my excitement turned to angst.

Oh, there were opportunities. But I was turned down for a couple of jobs (always a blow to one’s pride), and I myself said “no” to a few others. Even if I couldn’t find something directly connected to the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood (which would have been ideal), I at least wanted something that connected with children.

Another limiting factor was the hours I wanted. While my schedule was flexible, I was only looking for 12-15 hours per week, and most part-time work (such as after school programs) were for about 25 hours each week. I needed a job to supplement my work with MCM, not the other way around.

We were fortunate to be in a financial situation where I had a few months buffer of not needing that extra income. However, the worrywart (such a great word) in me looked ahead a few months, and I knew that I needed some extra income to come in.

Yes, I Do. No, I Don’t.

Here’s an actual conversation I had with a mentor of mine:

Him: “Someone told me that they had part-time work for you.”

Me: “Great! What is it?”

Him: “It’s something 30 minutes away, and completely unrelated to what you’ll be doing. I told him you don’t want it.”

Me: “Yes, I do want it.”

Him: “No you don’t.”

Me: “Yes. I DO.”

Him. “No. You DON’T.”

Me: (pause) “OK. I don’t.”

He, and some other leaders, were telling me that something would come up that would be more ideal. But I didn’t see it happening. At least, not in the time-frame I wanted.

But within the past couple of weeks, God dropped two part-time jobs in my lap.

Working Hard for the Money

Both of these opportunities came up “out of nowhere” (But with God, we know that’s not true, right?). Within two weeks, I was made aware of both jobs, interviewed for both, and started working at both. I am working for Lead Academy as a long-term sub, and for Julie Valentine Center as a facilitator for a parenting class for young dads.

Lead Academy. Lead Academy (not to be confused with League Academy) is a public charter school, which began about five years ago. They set high expectations for their students (currently 5th-8th grade), and I love their philosophies, such as “Every student is college bound” and “Work hard, Be nice, Serve well.” This school has a diverse range of students – racially and socioeconomically – and they have a proven track record of building solid students and leaders.

I will be a long-term sub (maybe 2 months, unless they run me off sooner) for a teacher who is going on maternity leave. I will be responsible to teach Science and Social Studies to their fifth graders. Since it’s only two classes first thing in the morning, this job won’t eat into my “regular” day too much.

Cool connection #1:  I played football with the principal, Rodney Johnson, at Furman.

Cool connection #2:  I knew the teacher I’m subbing for, Sarah Tollick Mitchell, from Furman, too. She played soccer.

Cool connection #3:  Mrs. Mitchell is a long-time member of Grace Church, and we now worship together at the Downtown campus.

Cool connection #4:  Some great youth from Lead have worked for Mill Village Farms.

Julie Valentine Center. I will co-facilitate a parenting class a young fathers (including teenage dads). The class will be held once per week on Thursday evenings. The class will be held at Little Steps, a very successful program to support and equip young parents, but JVC provides the curriculum and funding. While we facilitate this 12-week program, their wives / girlfriends will be going through a parallel curriculum in another room at Little Steps.

I am excited for this opportunity to equip young dads, so that they can be better leaders for their children.

Cool connection #1:  A couple of friends of mine at Grace Church have been volunteering at Little Steps for a while. (One of them has dropped 7 billion hints that I need to teach this class. I heard you, Katie.) And this program is a major culturally-engaged focus for our Harrison Bridge campus.

Cool connection #2:  You can also support this program, especially by providing childcare or by bringing a meal sometime this semester. Contact me if you are interested.

Cool connection #3:  The JVC Parent Education Coordinator (i.e., my boss) grew up in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood, and still goes to church at Long Branch Baptist Church, our major partner in that community.

What God Is Teaching Me

Looking back, here’s what I know: I could not have said “yes” to these two great opportunities had I not said “no” (or been told “no) in the other half-dozen jobs that came my way.

Please pray for me. I can honestly (not humbly) say that I feel completely inadequate for both of these roles. Pray that God would be glorified in my weakness.

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